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Insights from Hawthorne Publishing

Regional Publisher Meets Amazon Logistics

LOGISTICS—that is the current buzzword.  Hawthorne is always trying to expedite book orders to our customers far and wide.  So…when I focused on orders from Amazon that were directed to “Amazon Inventory at Whitestown, Indiana,” Eureka! I realized that was just “down the road a piece” from our office.

Off I went to hand deliver the books to Amazon. Boy, was I in for a surprise.  Amazon was there on the outskirts of Whitestown, really Indianapolis, along I-65. I plowed into the parking lot, drove up to one imposing door that wouldn’t budge, then drove one-fourth mile to the next door. Their fulfillment center was on a ten-acre tract containing a four-story building as large as four football fields at least. What was I expecting anyway from the biggest distributor of books in the world—Mom and Pop’s Book Emporium?

Once I got past the guards into the reception area, I was faced with ten-foot-high bars with a revolving cage door protected by a mean person with an active beeper calling for the supervisor who would deal with this nut who wanted to hand deliver books to Amazon.

He came, scratched his head, and finally said he would try to find the correct receiving bin.  I looked through the bars into the mammoth building with conveyors running from the ground up to the rafters and off into the fuzzy distance to some unknown spot known but to a robot computer

And here I thought I would give the personal touch to logistics, only to find Amazon had a whole different concept of logistics and was not at all interested in any high-touch stuff from a lowly regional publisher.

I finally found my way out of the crazy-quilt parking lot and driveway and drove back to the office at little old Oak Road, with its books stored in a few units around the corner at Jeff’s Jim-it-in Storage.

So much for personal fulfillment. I had had my fill.

Ye humbled President Art Baxter